On August 19, Utility Line Clearance Arborist Training candidates celebrated their graduation after completing their five-week, 200-hour training program designed to educate an expanded workforce to support tree trimming operations around electric infrastructure across the state. The premise is that once participants complete the training, they become a part of the local Union (IBEW Local 465) and eligible for hire by tree contractors (UTS and Davey).
These efforts will ultimately lead to more jobs for San Diegans and bring in new talent to support our line clearances and other utility arborist efforts. It is also in place to support the prevention of wildfires by ensuring adequate resources are available statewide to perform pruning and removal activities. Although graduates are not guaranteed a job after finishing the program, they will now be well-positioned for future employment within the vegetation management industry.
“Over the past five weeks, these graduates have dedicated themselves to learning specialized line clearance skills, from tree safety, climbing and fire protection, to how to identify electrical hazards, and much more,” said chief operating officer and chief safety officer at SDG&E, Kevin Geraghty. “And we are honored to help support this amazing effort.”
In April SDG&E approved funding through its Wildfire Mitigation Plan for $1.2 million to help fund the Utility Line Clearance Arborist Training program for 3 years.
As wildfires continue to grow in frequency and intensity, one of the best lines of defense to prevent these catastrophic fires is to ensure that trees and other vegetation around electrical infrastructure are properly inspected and pruned. Programs like the Utility Line Clearance Arborist Training are designed to build a diverse, qualified, and talented workforce of uniquely skilled personnel that can help keep our region, and our customers safe.